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DID YOU READ

The 10 Funniest Sketches from The Dana Carvey Show

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Comedian Louis CK appeared on The Tonight Show this week and revealed to host Jimmy Fallon that he actively campaigned to not have Fallon as a cast member of the short-lived sketch program The Dana Carvey Show. Find out why here:

Unless you were one of the lucky few who caught it during its initial post-Home Improvement airing on ABC, chances are you weren’t aware that Dana Carvey ever had a primetime sketch series. Debuting in the spring of 1996 and canceled soon thereafter, the show was comprised of a powerhouse team of future household names and talent virtually unrivaled in the industry. Other than Carvey and CK, the cast and writers included Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Robert Smigel, Dino Stamatopoulos, Jon Glaser, Spike Feresten, Robert Carlock, and Charlie Freakin’ Kaufman! Despite this amazing pedigree, the TV-viewing audiences of 1996 weren’t ready for the show’s sublimely absurd content and surreal characters.

We, however, can look back fondly on The Dana Carvey Show and offer up this list of its 10 best sketches.

10. President Bill Clinton: Mother and Father to the Nation

Unsuspecting families who had just finished watching Tim Allen “Ar! Ar! Ar!” his way through another mishap stayed tuned to the premiere episode of a sketch comedy show starring that funny fellow who does that Church Lady character. What they got, instead, was Carvey as President Clinton cheerfully breastfeeding babies, puppies, and kittens. Tame by today’s standards, primetime audiences in 1996 weren’t ready for such a horrific sight, and the show was doomed to die on the vine. Looking back, however, it’s pretty damn funny.


9. World Leaders and Their Baths

Dana Carvey writer and cast member Robert Smigel welcomed us to his private bathtime as a playful and fun-loving King Hussein of Jordan. Basically doing the voice of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Smigel expounds on the joy of covering himself with bubbles and pretending he is a bubble creature, attacking the many toy army men and tanks that he brings to the tub. His smile and enthusiasm are nothing but infectious.


8. Stupid Pranksters

The Dana Carvey Show was parodying the glut of YouTube pranksters at least a decade before their welcome was way overstayed. As two of the very few recurring characters on the short-lived show, Carvey and Carell play two snickering jokesters who haven’t quite got the whole scam concept down. Despite coming out of each situation short a few bucks or down a couple hours of manual labor, they celebrate in their car after making a hasty getaway.


7. Germans Who Say Nice Things

The stern Teutonic inflection doesn’t easily lend itself to kind words and affirmations. Yet, Carvey and Carell do sound sincere while shrieking pleasantries and dressed in blazers, turtlenecks, and flaxen-haired wigs. Although their tone reminds us of ruthless gestapos and brutal despots, it’s heartwarming to know that it was a pleasure babysitting Kevin.


6. The Cutting Room Floor Remembers If I Only Had an Ass

In one of The Dana Carvey Show‘s more epic-length skits (roughly five minutes), Smigel as a lisping Gene Shalit looks at one of the key figures in The Wizard of Oz who was unfortunately left on the cutting room floor. Carvey plays Dennis Blanchard, a man without an ass, who sings his troubles before a stunned and silent Oz group. Topped off with a throwaway gag of impersonated movie critics, this sketch exemplifies the insanity The Dana Carvey Show writers routinely brought to the table.

5. Waiters Who Are Nauseated by Food

A fantastic performance in just two minutes, Colbert and Carell are restaurant servers struggling to power through the specials of the day without emptying the contents of their stomachs in front of the customer. Between Colbert’s cleansing breaths and Carell’s dry heaves, the chemistry and rhythm the two had was evident even before their killer segments on The Daily Show.


4. Skinheads From Maine

The quaint, down-home charm of America’s northern New Englanders seems to bring a certain rural hospitality to staunch racism and brutal discrimination. Bald-capped and bedecked in flannel, Carvey and Colbert lounge on the porch in their rocking chairs, whittling and spitballing their future suckerpunch and hate-stick targets — in between casual comments on the weather and early lilac blooms.


3. Grandma the Clown

There’s nothing funnier (or more watchable) than seeing a young child filled with existential dread, and this deteriorated and garishly painted senior citizen clown supplies it in spades. As a solemn and humbled group of children watch in horror, Grandma the Clown creaks and groans into each slapstick schtick with a grimace on her lips and a word of advice to hang onto your fleeting youth.


2. Famous First Ladies as Dogs

A surreal display of comedic talent, Heather Morgan does dead-on impressions of the notable women behind our commander-in-chiefs…had they been dogs. The sketch doesn’t overload the concept with extra characters or even dialogue — beyond a few barks and howls. It’s just Morgan in various pantsuits and church hats, fully committing to the canine personas of our first ladies, and it’s phenomenal.


1. Tom Brokaw Anticipates the Death of Gerald Ford

It’s one of the greatest sketches ever aired on Saturday Night Live, but it comes directly from an unaired episode of The Dana Carvey Show. Same concept, same jokes. (It even includes a Carvey cast member — Robert Smigel plays the offscreen news director.) Dana plays Tom Brokaw on the verge of a vacation reporting all the possible deaths that former president Gerald Ford could suffer while he’s gone. Absolutely absurd and conceptually brilliant, it leaves us to wonder if The Dana Carvey Show would’ve lasted longer had this sketch aired in its intended program.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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